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Seasonal hiring trends up

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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

This news should snap you out of your government-shutdown blues.

Nearly 40 percent of retailers say they will beef up hiring for the holidays. That's up from 36 percent last year at this time and 29 percent in 2011, according to CareerBuilder's annual survey.

This includes high-end retailers like Macy's, which is expected to hire 83,000, and Wal-Mart, which says it will hire 55,000 seasonal workers.

Don't despair if retail is not your thing but short-term work is.

There are other opportunities as companies wrap up the year and need extra hands to help them handle everything from customer service, sales and marketing to shipping and delivery, inventory management, clerical work and accounting and finance.

Where are these employers? They're in information technology, leisure and hospitality, and financial services.

The majority will hire some folks they've hired before. But they also like to recruit: 45 percent tend to target college students. More than 50 percent will seek out retirees and experienced workers who are not retired.

Now is the time to apply, because most companies won't be accepting applications after October.

Think about who else needs help as we enter the holiday season and what kinds of jobs that could mean. Some include jobs for recruiters who would look for people to fill seasonal jobs, people with the skills to help companies design window displays and decorations, people to put up and take down decorations, and operational and customer service representatives at companies that fulfill seasonal requests.

A different CareerBuilder survey found that “middle-skill” or “middle-wage” jobs in the United States are thriving — at least in some fields and geographic areas.

Federal Reserve research shows that the share of those jobs dropped from 25 percent in 1985 to just above 15 percent today. Factors such as automation and companies moving positions out of the country are to blame.

For the purpose of this study, middle-wage jobs are defined as those paying $13.84 to $21.13 an hour.

Even though more high-wage and low-wage jobs are available overall, some areas of manufacturing, health care and energy have middle-wage jobs that are stable and growing.

Those positions include customer service representatives, up 6 percent; tractor-trailer drivers, up 7 percent; bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, up 4 percent; machinists, up 14 percent; inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers — they review raw materials and assembled parts and products — up 8 percent; welders, cutters, solderers and brazers — workers who join metal parts — up 11 percent; computer-controlled machine-tool operators, up 17 percent; and oil, gas and mining service unit operators, up 38 percent.

Most of this work requires experience or certificates and degrees that are offered at community colleges.

Remember that you can start out part time or doing work you hadn't planned. But your position always can turn into more if you prove to be invaluable.

Who knows, maybe you'll discover you like the company enough to see where else things might go.

Write to career consultant Andrea Kay in care of USA Today/Gannett, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108. Email: Twitter: @AndreaKayCareer.



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